Episode #147. Today we’ll read 1 Corinthians chapter 14 together: Paul speaks volumes about prophecy; he gives instructions for speaking in tongues; and addresses order in the church.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #147. Today we’ll read 1st Corinthians chapter 14 together: Paul speaks volumes about prophecy; he gives instructions for speaking in tongues; and addresses order in church.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
We had a lively discussion in our Sunday school class on Sunday regarding 1st Peter. In this book, Peter addresses the subject of Christian suffering. He makes the point that we should not be surprised when suffering comes our way; instead, we should expect to suffer for our faith in Christ.
We see signs of this today coming from certain corners of the political landscape where it is believed that all religions, pagan or otherwise, should be tolerated…except the Christian faith. And we see this in media and offerings from Hollywood, where Christians are almost always portrayed as narrow-minded bigots and hypocrites who judge everyone but themselves.
1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.”
Peter’s point is that as Christians, we are not to react to suffering as the world does. We are always to remember that our confidence is not in this world but the next, that our suffering on this earth is but a dot on the infinite line of eternity with Christ. And our attitudes during times of suffering should reflect the gratitude we have for the sacrifice of Christ that made this future possible.
1 Corinthians Chapter 14
Prophecy: A Superior Gift
Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. For the person who speaks in a tongue is not speaking to people but to God, since no one understands him; he speaks mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the person who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation. The person who speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. I wish all of you spoke in tongues, but even more that you prophesied. The person who prophesies is greater than the person who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets so that the church may be built up.
Speaking in Tongues
So now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you with a revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? Even lifeless instruments that produce sounds — whether flute or harp — if they don’t make a distinction in the notes, how will what is played on the flute or harp be recognized? In fact, if the bugle makes an unclear sound, who will prepare for battle?
In the same way, unless you use your tongue for intelligible speech, how will what is spoken be known? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different kinds of languages in the world, none is without meaning. Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker will be a foreigner to me. So also you — since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, seek to excel in building up the church.
Therefore, the person who speaks in a tongue should pray that he can interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing praise with the spirit, and I will also sing praise with my understanding. Otherwise, if you praise with the spirit, how will the outsider say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up.
Better to Speak with Understanding
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, in order to teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your thinking, but be infants in regard to evil and adult in your thinking. It is written in the law,
I will speak to this people
by people of other tongues
and by the lips of foreigners,
and even then, they will not listen to me,
says the Lord. Speaking in tongues, then, is intended as a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers. If, therefore, the whole church assembles together and all are speaking in tongues and people who are outsiders or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all are prophesying and some unbeliever or outsider comes in, he is convicted by all and is called to account by all. The secrets of his heart will be revealed, and as a result he will fall facedown and worship God, proclaiming, “God is really among you.”
Order in Church Meetings
What then, brothers and sisters? Whenever you come together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Everything is to be done for building up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, there are to be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no interpreter, that person is to keep silent in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should evaluate. But if something has been revealed to another person sitting there, the first prophet should be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may learn and everyone may be encouraged. And the prophets’ spirits are subject to the prophets, since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but are to submit themselves, as the law also says. If they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home, since it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Or did the word of God originate from you, or did it come to you only?
If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, he should recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command. If anyone ignores this, he will be ignored. So then, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything is to be done decently and in order.
Paul addresses two spiritual gifts in this chapter: Prophecy and speaking in tongues and tells us that the greater gift is the ability to prophecy. But then he spends most of the chapter addressing speaking in tongues.
There is a controversy in the Christian church about the meaning of speaking in tongues. Some Pentecostal faiths believe that it is an angelic language spoken by believers and is a sign of salvation. Others believe that the speaker is engaging in a foreign language unknown to him or her, which harmonizes with the account of Pentecost. In Acts Chapter 2, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and “…began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.” There were Jews from many nations in Jerusalem at the time, and all within earshot heard their own language.
It is not my intention to settle this dispute. But Paul makes it clear in this chapter that Christians should only speak in tongues during a gathering of believers if there is somebody present who can interpret what is being said for the benefit of the church body. And then only 2 or 3 should be allowed to share at a time.
Furthermore, Paul makes it clear that not all Christians share the same spiritual gifts. Whatever gifts we have, we are to use them for building up the body, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s pray.
Oh Lord, help us to discover the spiritual gifts that You have given us and to use them for the purposes you put before us. Let us not be jealous of what we see as “superior” spiritual gifts but to revel in the knowledge that all parts are necessary for the proper functioning of a healthy body. Help us to be ever grateful for the contributions of others, and build them up as indispensable, no matter what their role. In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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